North Country farmers can save money skipping an application of fertilizer on corn
Friday, May 13, 2011 - 6:23 am

Farmers might be able to reduce corn planting costs and save time by eliminating one entire application of purchased fertilizer, according to preliminary findings in on-farm research trials.

The research, funded in part by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) and conducted on five Northern New York dairy farms and at an experimental farm in Chazy, showed that manure provided sufficient nitrogen to the corn in the early season and that a starter application of fertilizer was not necessary.

These finding have big economic implications for dairy producers, the researchers said.

Project leader Dr. Quirine Ketterings, Director of the Nutrient Management Spear Program at Cornell University, says, “This research into the possibility of eliminating the use of commercially-purchased starter nitrogen on corn fields that have a history of manure applications has the potential to save New York dairy producers time and money without sacrificing crop yield or quality. Ultimately, this would make farms more sustainable long-term.”

The research is drawing interest from farmers in the North Country as well as from Canada and New Hampshire, the NNYADP reports.

The “Can Manure Replace the Need for Starter Fertilizer” project report is online at

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is a farmer-driven research and outreach program that provides practical on-farm research results to strengthen the agricultural industry in St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, and Lewis.

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